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Can You Eat Peeps With Braces?

Kristie Leong M.D. is a family practitioner who believes in the power of nutrition and a healthy lifestyle to prevent and fight illness.

Peeps are marshmallow chicks that are shaped like chicks and colored pastel pink, green, purple, and yellow. They're a popular Easter candy because they look like the real thing but don’t contain eggs. As you might expect, they are popular around Easter, but some people snack on them at other times of the year too.

Peeps are made from sugar, corn syrup, and gelatin while the eyes are made of food-grade carnauba wax. So, Peeps are mostly sugar but manufacturers add food coloring to make them colorful. Although not the healthiest food you can pop in your mouth and lack nutritional value, there are special precautions if you have braces.

Will Peeps Harm Your Braces?

Having braces is a big deal, and it's important to protect your investment against damage. Braces are made of metal, unless you choose Invisalign, which means sticky foods can stick to the metal and hard foods can damage the structure of your braces.

When you wear metal braces, you want to avoid damaging the brackets (the metal pieces) and wire (the thin piece that connects one bracket to another). Brackets can bend or warp enough to cause discomfort when you eat or brush.

In the worst situation, a sticky or hard candy could break a bracket. Although Peeps are soft, they are sticky. Orthodontists often recommend that people with braces avoid certain types of food including:

  • Hard candy
  • Sticky candy (including licorice, taffy, Tootsie rolls)
  • Popcorn
  • Ice
  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Chewing gum
  • Lollipops
  • Hard foods (even healthy ones)

These foods are more likely to damage your braces than softer, less sticky foods. Also, the American Association of Orthodontics lists marshmallows as a safe food if you have braces. Still, Peeps are high in sugar, and dentists and orthodontists recommend limiting sugar.

The Sugar in Peeps May Harm Your Teeth Too

When you wear metal braces, you’re also at higher risk of developing dental caries since it’s harder to clean your teeth and remove cavity-causing plaque with braces covering your teeth. Peeps are high in sugar and because they’re somewhat sticky, the sugar stays on your teeth and braces longer.

How Do Cavities Form?

Bacteria in your mouth feed on sugar and produce acid. The acid dissolves the minerals in your teeth, leaving holes called cavities. The most common cause of tooth decay is consuming sugary foods and drinks and not brushing and flossing regularly.

If you eat Peeps as an Easter treat, brush well afterward. If you can’t brush, drink a glass of water until you can brush your teeth. The same applies when you eat other foods high in sugar, especially sticky ones. Peeps are less likely to harm your braces than stickier candies like caramels, tootsie rolls, and jellybeans but it’s best to avoid all sticky candies to protect your braces from damage.

Follow Your Orthodontist’s Advice

Your orthodontist will recommend a list of foods to avoid while you have braces. Peeps and other sticky candies may or may not be on the list of foods they recommend. According to the American Association of Orthodontics, Peeps are on the list of acceptable foods to eat with braces because they're soft. But approach them with caution due to their sugar content.

Any type of hard or difficult-to-chew food can cause damage to braces and require an extra visit to the orthodontist for repair. Although high in sugar, some types of non-sticky and soft candy, like chocolate, are acceptable if you have braces. But make sure the chocolate doesn’t contain stick caramel or hard nuts.

The goal is to protect the wires and brackets that hold your teeth in place. If you eat sticky or crunchy food with lots of sugar, then it can get caught in your braces, it may damage them. You also want to avoid hard-to-chew foods because these can also get caught in your wire bracket system.

Treat Your Braces Well

Braces are an investment in straighter teeth, and you may wear them for several years. Take care of them so they can safely do their job of straightening your teeth. Avoid hard and sticky candies and don’t go overboard on the sugar. Your reward will be straighter teeth and a more radiant smile! It’s best to limit sweet items like candy corn, and even Peeps, until your treatment ends, and your braces come off, revealing straight, beautiful teeth!

References

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.